Difference Between Oxidation and Reduction

The chemical reactions which often work together are oxidation and reduction. During this reaction there is an exchange of electrons. When reduction oxidation reactions occur simultaneously it is called as redox reaction or reduction- oxidation reaction. These are balanced chemical reactions.


On introducing two molecules to each other, one molecule loses electrons. This reaction is called oxidation.

  • Electrons are lost.
  • Removal of hydrogen group.
  • Adding oxygen.
  • Reaction release energy.
  • Electrons are released in the surrounding.
  • Oxidation state increases.
  • Occurs in reducing agents.
  • Example for reducing agent is metal.


On introducing two molecules to each other, one molecule gains electrons. This reaction is called reduction.

  • Electrons are gained.
  • Addition of hydrogen group.
  • Removal of oxygen.
  • Reaction stores energy.
  • Electrons are obtained from the surrounding.
  • Oxidation state decreases.
  • Occurs in oxidizing agents.
  • Examples of Oxidizing agent are ozone, bleach, peroxide etc

To make you understand how oxidation and reduction are different from each other, here are some major differences between oxidation and reduction:

Difference between Oxidation and Reduction
Losing electrons Gaining electrons
Increase in oxidation number Decrease in oxidation number
For a given compound losing hydrogen For a given compound gaining hydrogen
This reaction releases energy This reaction stores energy
oxidizing agents: Ozone, Bleach, peroxide Common reducing agent is metal

These were some important difference between reduction and oxidation. To know differences between other topics in chemistry you can register to BYJU’S or download our app for simple and interesting content. India’s largest k-12 learning app with top-notch teachers from across the nation with excellent teaching skills. Find notes, question papers for other subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Biology and various competitive exams as well. Enjoy learning with great experience. Learning is no more boring with BYJU’S.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What distinguishes something as an oxidising agent?

An oxidising agent is a compound or element that participates in a redox (oxidation-reduction) reaction and accepts electrons from a different species. An oxidant is a chemical compound that easily transfers oxygen or another substance atoms in order to gain an electron.


Do oxidising agents self-reduce?

By accepting electrons from other substances, oxidizing agents cause their oxidation states to become less positive. Thus, Oxidizing agents are reduced.


What is the strongest reducing agent?

Due to the smallest standard reduction potential, lithium is the strongest reducing agent. It decreases the oxidation state of another substance while it gets oxidized, becoming a reducing agent. Lithium is, therefore, the most powerful reducing agent.


Why hydrogen is a good reducing agent?

When hydrogen gas is carried over warm metallic oxides of copper, lead, iron, etc., it removes oxygen from them and lowers them to their respective metal.


What is the weakest reducing agent?

The highest oxidizing agent is the weakest reducing agent. The species that are lowered in a redox reaction are oxidizing agents.

Related Links:

Oxidizing agent
Reducing agent
Redox reaction electron transfer
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